Current Issue

STEM Education News

August 1, 2014

In This Issue:

What’s Next for the 2013-14 Albert Einstein Fellows?

As the 2013-14 fellowship year comes to a close, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows are finalizing their post-fellowship plans, which for many include returning to the classroom. The majority of the current fellows will return to schools and districts in the fall where they will teach or take on administrative leadership positions. Others will apply their fellowship experiences in new ways outside of the formal classroom setting. Six of the current fellows will continue serving for a second year in their fellowship placements. Here is a breakdown of post-fellowship plans as reported by the 2013-14 Albert Einstein Fellows:

  • Anne Artz will return to The Preuss School UCSD in California where she will teach part time and serve as the school’s first STEM Coordinator.
  • Ophelia Barizo will return to Highland View Academy in Maryland to serve as Vice Principal for Advancement/STEM Coordinator.
  • Michelle Basile looks forward to being back in the classroom at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Washington, DC where she will teach grades 5 and 6 science.
  • Elaine Blomeyer plans to return to the classroom in Los Angeles Unified School District.
  • Barbara Buckner is returning to Cleveland, Tennessee to begin her 21st year of teaching at Bradley Central High School.
  • Britta Culbertson is serving as the Education and Outreach Manager at The Nature Conservancy’s Nature Works Everywhere program.
  • Steve Griffin will join Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia as the Science Department Chair and will also teach AP Physics and Honors Chemistry.
  • Melinda Higgins is returning to The Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee to teach chemistry, biology and engineering.
  • Joe Isaac will be a freelance STEM education consultant, working on several contracts which will entail curriculum writing and development and teacher training.
  • Jennifer Kennedy is returning to Athens City Schools in Alabama where she will work on STEM implementation, as well as with elementary gifted students.
  • Zovig Minassian is returning to her school district in Glendale, California where she will join Glendale High School to teach college preparatory biology and marine biology.
  • Stephen Portz is returning to Brevard County, Florida as a middle school technology education teacher.
  • Lynn Foshee Reed is returning as mathematics instructor at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Rebecca Sansom will join Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah as Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
  • Sheryl Sotelo will be leading STEM professional development opportunties for teachers as well as STEM outreach for students in rural Alaska.
  • David Thesenga will be teaching 8th grade physical science and 6th grade earth science at the STEM-focused Timberline PK-8 School of the St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, Colorado.
  • Shawn Tiegs is returning to the classroom and taking on a part-time role as a District Technology Advisor in Nezperce, Idaho.
  • James Town will serve as Math Specialist at the Alameda County Office of Education in California.
  • Sharon Webb plans to work as an educational consultant in Northern Virginia.

Fellows who will continue for a second year:

  • Kaye Ebelt will serve a second year at the National Science Foundation, Directorate for Engineering, Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.
  • James Forester will serve a second year in the Office of Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science.
  • Natalie Harr will serve a second year at the National Science Foundation, Education and Human Resources, Division of Research on Learning.
  • Kathryn Hoppe will serve a second year at the National Science Foundation, Directorate for Engineering, Engineering Education Centers.
  • Jennie Lyons will serve a second year at the National Science Foundation, Computer & Information Science & Engineering, Computer and Network Systems.
  • Joshua Sneideman will serve a second year at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.


Sustaining the STEM Movement: A Critical Dialogue for the Future of STEM Education

On October 8-10, Triangle Coalition will present its 14th Annual STEM Education Conference that will examine critical questions and solutions around sustaining the nation’s STEM education movement. With STEM education now a much-debated and, perhaps, much-hyped topic, STEM advocates must consider whether we are nearing the zenith of interest in STEM and whether current efforts to expand student access are as inclusive as they should be. Sustaining STEM: Maintaining the Movement, Widening the Circle will seek to answer these questions and more in order to address what must be done to ensure STEM remains a national priority. Conference strands will include: sustaining STEM through partnerships; building momentum in unexpected places – broadening participation among the underserved; and planning for the STEM paradigm of the future. During the weeks leading up to the conference, STEM stakeholders will be invited to participate in a series of dialogues around these topics through pre-conference webinars.

This year’s conference will also address policy issues impacting STEM education, and provide advocacy opportunities for participants to meet with members of Congress and legislative staff. Early bird registration is now open and a $100 discount is available to members of the Triangle Coalition and alumni of the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship. To learn more, visit and watch the conference preview video.


Washington Post calls hype over Census Bureau STEM report overblown

After the U.S. Census Bureau reported that three quarters of STEM degree holders do not work in STEM occupations, critics seized the opportunity to assert that the nation’s STEM workforce shortage is non-existent. The Census Bureau cited that half of engineering, computer, math and statistics majors continued in STEM careers, and that fewer science graduates (about 26 percent of physical science majors; 15 percent of biological, environmental and agricultural sciences majors; 10 percent of psychology majors; and 7 percent of social science majors) worked in STEM fields. An editorial in the Washington Post this week responded to some of the attention around this report, highlighting discrepancies in its definitions of STEM majors versus STEM professions, and commenting on the overemphasis of STEM job supply numbers in the public debate. The Post cited the a Brooking Institution study, which reported that 20 percent of all occupations require “a high level of knowledge in any one STEM field.” The Post concludes, “Basic knowledge of math and science is the bare minimum for a citizen in today’s world, regardless of career choice.” Read the Post’s article here.


Inside Triangle Coalition: A Visit to NIST

By Ryan Jones, Triangle Coalition for STEM Education Intern

On Tuesday, July 22, the Einstein Fellows as well as some of us from the Triangle Coalition visited the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST is a government institute that promotes continuous innovation in the U.S by conducting world-class research in the areas of technology, measurement, and standards. While conducting world-class research, NIST also has some relatively simple forms of research such as their stone test wall which holds over 2,000 different types of stones in order to assess the impact of weathering on these types of stones. Some of the more advanced research experiments include the enhancement of NIST instruments to enable high-speed imaging of tissues.

During our visit, we did several things. First, we visited the stone test wall. I found it interesting to see how some of the Einstein Fellows became interested in thinking of ideas and potential lessons that could stem from the wall. I was specifically interested in the weathering of stones that were/are used in buildings and construction. We also learned about the Baldridge Criteria for Performance Excellence, designed by NIST to empower organizations and businesses to improve. While it may not be the most exciting thing for students to do, it can also be used for schools or districts and provide students an opportunity to voice their opinions about their school or school district. For our final activity, we learned about how measurements (specifically the metric system) can be implemented into the classroom. One of the lessons was an introduction to the metric system using a Jeopardy style game, while the other was a lesson on tare (weight of an empty container) and carrying items such as food that are priced by weight. Both of these engaging lessons could be implemented into the classroom as a tool to help teach students, but I think that the lesson regarding tare would fare much better with an older group such as adults. NIST also has many other quality lessons and tools that can be implemented into the classroom.

Besides learning about the lessons and ways that NIST can help in the classroom, we were introduced to the many jobs and opportunities available through NIST as well as through metrology (the science of measurement). NIST has multiple programs for high school and college students that would be very engaging and informative. These programs include the Summer High School Intern Program, and the Pathways Program, which provides students the opportunity to learn about and actually participate in NIST’s research and experiments. There are also opportunities and careers in the field of metrology. Some people may not particularly be interested in becoming a metrologist or calibration engineer, but jobs such as physicists, systems engineers, and forensic scientists can be good options for those who are intrigued but do not want to dive completely into metrology. While the primary focuses for these jobs are in various subject areas, they all have some level of focus in metrology. Personally, I did not have any idea that this many jobs involved metrology, or that metrology had its own field at all. As a result, that really helps to broaden what I, or any other person can do in the future.

Overall, this visit to NIST was fascinating in that we were able to learn about things that previously, we had no idea even existed, such as the jobs within the field of metrology or the impact of tare in the cost of food that is sold by weight. Much of what was learned in this visit can be used by teachers and schools everywhere to help students become more well-rounded in the classroom while also learning more about what STEM really has to offer.

Ryan Jones is a rising senior at School Without Walls High School in Washington, DC and also attends The George Washington University. Jones is serving an internship this summer at the Triangle Coalition for STEM Education.


AEF Spotlight
Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies: An Educators’ Blog

By Natalie Harr, ’13-’15 Albert Einstein Fellow
National Science Foundation

“Next generation” learning technologies can revolutionize how people learn in any setting… at school, at home, in the park… everywhere! As an Einstein Fellow serving at the National Science Foundation (NSF), I have been immersed in a federally-funded, cutting-edge research program that aims to develop the next generation of learning technologies. This NSF-funded program is known as Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies. Cyberlearning is an exciting, new field of research that merges two disciplines of study (learning & computing) to design learning technologies –technologies that can help people learn and assess learning. This innovative field uses what scientists have discovered about how people learn to inform the design of these technologies. These new innovations can potentially transform who, what, when, where, and how we learn.

“Next generation” technologies have the potential to impact schools and other learning environments– five, ten, or even twenty years into the future. To bring educators into the cyberlearning discussion, I have partnered with the The Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL) to create the Cyberlearning Educators’ Corner  blog. This blog, which can be found at aims to provide educators with a sneak preview of the “next generation” of technologies currently being developed. The blog gives educators an opportunity to explore new ways of using technology for education and creatively imagine how these technologies can transform various learning environments.

As the author and creator, I wholeheartedly invite you to follow the blog at to meet the people behind cyberlearning research, explore the history of technology & education, and imagine the implications of new learning technology. I encourage you to ask questions, engage in thought-provoking conversation, and to “dream big” about the implications of technology for learning, especially in classrooms of the future.